Secure Flight Passenger Data (SFPD) FAQs

Agency Frequently Asked Questions on Secure Flight Passenger Data (SFPD)
Issued: Sept. 15, 2012

Q: What is Secure Flight, and what does it do?
A: Secure Flight is a behind-the-scenes program developed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)/Transportation Safety Administration (TSA), to enhance the security of domestic and international commercial air travel through the use of improved watch-list matching. It is designed to improve the travel experience for all passengers, including those who have been misidentified in the past.

Q: How does Secure Flight work?
A: Secure Flight matches the name, date of birth and gender information for each passenger against government watch lists to:

  • Identify known and suspected terrorists
  • Prevent individuals on the No Fly List from boarding an aircraft
  • Identify individuals on the Selectee List for enhanced screening
  • Facilitate passenger air travel
  • Protect individuals' privacy

Q: What data is required?
A: Secure Flight Passenger Data (SFPD) must include the following information:

  • Name as it appears on a Passport, driver's license or other valid government-issued photo identification
  • Date of Birth
  • Gender
  • Redress Number (where applicable)

Q. If I have Secure Flight Passenger Data (SFPD) and Passport (APIS) Information, do I enter both?
A: No, the only required docs in the PNR are the SFPD (DOCS/DB) to issue the ticket.

Q: What is Redress?
A: Redress is an opportunity for passengers who believe they have been improperly or unfairly delayed or prohibited from boarding an aircraft to seek resolution and avoid future delays. The affected passengers often have the same or a similar name to someone on the watch list. The DHS Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (TRIP) provides a one-stop shop for passengers seeking redress. Secure Flight uses the results of the redress process in its watch list matching process to help prevent future delays for misidentified passengers.

Q: What is the format to enter Secure Flight Passenger Data into a reservation?
A: All Sabre subscribers should use the format below to enter SFPD into the reservation. Note that the entry includes the passenger’s middle name (as applicable) and a two-digit year in the date of birth. The SFPD does not require suffix, but DOES REQUIRE middle name if it appears on the ID.

4DOCS/DB/DATE OF BIRTH/GENDER/LASTNAME/FIRSTNAME/MIDDLENAME

4DOCS/DB/01JAN41/M/HOWELL/THURSTON/BACKUS

A: All Sabre subscribers should use the format below to enter APIS data directly into the reservation. The SFPD data will be extracted from the APIS for the TSA requirements. The Sabre format appears below:

4DOCS/P/ISSUING COUNTRY/PASSPORT NBR/NATIONALITY/DATE OF BIRTH/ GENDER/EXPIRATION DATE/LASTNAME/FIRSTNAME/MIDDLENAME/NAME NBR IN PNR

4DOCS/P/US/1234567/US/01JAN53/M/01MAR17/HOWELL/THURSTON/BACKUS-1.1

NOTE: IN ALL CASES, SFPD OR APIS THE NAMES MUST BE ENTERED EXACTLY AS THEY APPEAR ON A GOVERNMENT ISSUED PICTURE ID EXCLUDING THE SUFFIX. The formats described are for use in Sabre. Users of other GDSs should contact the respective GDS for the correct format.

Q: What is the format to enter Redress data?
A: The Sabre format is 4DOCO//R/123456-1, which is entered in addition to the formats shown above. As with other formats, users of other GDS systems should contact their respective representatives to learn subscriber formats.

Q: Is the middle name or initial required for Secure Flight documentation?
A: For SFPD data the passenger’s full name as it appears on a person's valid government-issued photo identification that will use when traveling. If the government-issued ID includes a middle name or initial, it must be included in the SFPD SSR when booking a reservation.

NOTE: The middle name or middle initial is not required in the name field of the reservation for ticketing or upgrading purposes. GDS functionalities differ and may not support the middle name or middle initial. Check with your GDS Help Desk for clarification on Name Field requirements.

Q: When I make a reservation do I include the middle name/middle initial for the passenger’s itinerary and ticket?
A: Name field in the PNR - only requires the FULL NAME – meaning the Full “Last name and the Full First name”. The middle name or initial is not required in the Name Field of the PNR. The name that has to match exactly to the Gov’t ID they are presenting is the Last name and the First Name only.

  • First and Last name only as it appears on the government issued ID that the passenger will use while traveling. Do not add a prefix, middle name or suffix.
  • Do not change the PNR name field to add a middle name. The PNR name should contain the last name and first name as it appears on the customer's government issued ID. In many cases the PNR name and SFPD field will be different since many passengers have a middle name.
  • The personal data that is in your reservation meets the TSA requirements for your travel dates.  There is no need to make any changes to your name as it appears on your reservation. Your middle name will be collected, along with your gender and date of birth, to add your Secure Flight Passenger Data at time of purchase
  • The name field requirements are separate from the SFPD or APIS requirement. The middle name/middle initial is required for SFPD or APIS to match the valid Gov’t ID the passenger is presenting to the TSA at security check point.
  • Please do not use a suffix in the name field of the PNR or for the SFPD/APIS information.

Q: What if the passenger has a Single Character Last Name?
A: If a customer advises that he/she has a single character last name of "B", "C", "Z" or "I" these must be doubled due to SABRE coding requirements for the PNR NAME FIELD; however it must be properly documented in the SFPD documentation.
PNR NAME FIELD - ZZ/JULIANNE
SFPD IN SSR – 4DOCS/DB/01JAN00/F/Z/JULIANNE
Check with your GDS Help Desk for clarification on Name Field coding requirements

Q: What if the passenger has a Single Name?
A: If the passenger's legal name is a single/one name; enter that as their last name. Use FNU as their first name in the Name Field of the PNR name.
PNR NAME FIELD – MADONNA/FNU
SFPD IN SSR – 4DOCS/DB/01JAN00/F/MADONNA
Check with your GDS Help Desk for clarification on Name Field coding requirements

Q: If Passenger’s driver's license has one name, but the name on the passport is different, which one should be provided?
A: It is best to enter into the name field of the PNR the passenger’s name as it appears on the valid government-issued photo identification the passenger intends to present at check-in and at the TSA security check point. The Secure Flight information should match whatever type (passport, driver’s license, etc) of valid government-issued photo identification is presented.

International Travel

All passports and/or passport replacing documents must be in good condition and the edges may not be torn or damaged.

The new U.S. Passport Card is NOT VALID FOR TRAVEL BY AIR. The U.S. Passport Card which the U.S. Department of State began issuing earlier this year may only be used for international land and sea travel between the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda. Note: these new U.S. Passport cards may not be used for travel by air.

*Important Note: Passport information should be entered by the customer upon check-in on aa.com, scanned at the Kiosk at the airport, or by the AA Airport Agent to ensure the information is accurate and matches the docs exactly.

  • Name on Passport
    Thurston Backus Howell III


  • Name Field in Reservation (Please do not use a middle name or a suffix)
    -HOWELL/THURSTON


  • APIS      Please do not use a suffix.
    DOCS/P/US/1234567/US/01JAN35/M/01MAR17/HOWELL/THURSTON/BACKUS-1.1
    (Please note:) IF APIS data is entered into a reservation, SFPD does not have to be entered, as American extracts the required SFPD from the APIS data.


  • Secure Flight Passenger Data (Use a middle name if it appears on the government-issued ID. Please do not use a suffix.) 4DOCS/DB/01JAN35/M/HOWELL/THURSTON/BACKUS

  • Do not use a suffix or prefix.

Domestic Travel

  • Name on Driver's License (can also use a passport for domestic travel)
    Thurston Backus Howell III


  • Name Field in Reservation: (Please Do not use middle name or a suffix)
    -Howell/Thurston


  • Secure Flight Passenger Data: (USE a middle name if it appears on the government-issued ID. Please do not use a suffix.)
    4DOCS/DB/01JAN35/M/HOWELL/THURSTON/BACKUS

IN ALL CASES, FOR SFPD/APIS NAMES MUST BE ENTERED EXACTLY AS THEY APPEAR ON A GOVERNMENT ISSUED PICTURE ID. The formats described are for use in Sabre. Users of other GDSs should contact the respective GDS for the correct format.

Q: How is an infant SFPD entered into the adult PNR?

INF SFPD DOCS/DB - Indicate FI or MI for gender and associate to one of the adults.

    • Example: 4DOCS/DB/01JAN12/FI/SMITH/JANE/ANN-1.1

*Note- Do not indicate the DOCS/P passport information for the infant. The passport should be scanned at the airport.

Q: What if my passport is torn or damaged?
A: All passports and/or passport replacing documents must be in good condition and the edges may not be torn or damaged.

To learn more about the TSA Secure Flight program, please visit www.aa.com/secureflight or www.tsa.gov/secureflight.

Q: Can SFPD in an international booking be changed to add the APIS SSR?
A: If the required Secure Flight Passenger Data (SFPD) information (DOCS/DB) was entered to issue the ticket, it is suggested that the agency does not replace/update the APIS (DOCS/P) information, but that the customer enter the information upon check-in on aa.com or scan the information at the Kiosk located at the airport, or that the AA Airport Agent ensure that the information is accurate and matches the docs exactly.

If the passport information was initially entered into the PNR DOCS/P by the agency on travel agency third-party bookings, the passenger is required to re-enter the passport information upon check-in on aa.com or the Kiosk at the airport. If the passport information was initially entered in the PNR DOCS/P by the agency and was incorrect, the passenger may experience check-in problems when the passenger re-enters the information, as it does not override the information entered by the travel agent initially. Best practice is for the APIS (DOCS/P) to be entered by the passenger upon check-in for international flight(s).

Q: If a passenger is on an international itinerary, should the agency enter the passport information via the standard DOCS/P, and do we still need to collect the SFPD and enter it as a separate DOCS/DB?
A: The required document information for any itinerary is to enter the DOCS/DB (SFPD) only. It is suggested that the agency does not enter the APIS (DOCS/P) information in the PNR, but that the customer should enter the information upon check-in on aa.com or scan the information at the Kiosk located at the airport, or that the AA Airport Agent ensure that the information is accurate and matches the docs exactly.

Best practice is for the APIS (DOCS/P) to be entered by the passenger upon check-in for international flight(s).

Q: Is a title or suffix required when booking a domestic or international reservation (such as "Mr.", "Dr.", "Ms., "Jr.", "Sr.", "III", "IV") or special characters?
A: No.

Q: Does the name fields in the reservation need to match the Secure Flight Passenger Data in the SSR field?
A: No. The name field and/or name on the ticket do not need to match the full name with the middle name/middle initial as it is entered in the DOCs SSR for the SFPD. The passenger's full name in the name field of the PNR will not be transmitted to the TSA. The SFPD or APIS name information in the DOCs SSR must match the name exactly as it appears on the valid government issued ID. The name in the DOCs SSR is the only name transmitted to the TSA. American encourages agencies to update the SFPD information in the agency profiles to be in sync with the valid government-issued ID.

Q: Why should the customer provide Secure Flight Passenger Data (SFPD)?
A: To comply with the TSA mandate, every customer is required to provide Secure Flight Passenger Data.

Q: What happens if the passenger's birth date is entered incorrectly in the reservation?
A: The agency can input the new corrected DOCS/DB SSR as it will overwrite the old data which must be done before 72 hours prior to the flight departure. Within 72 hours American must transmit ALL PNRs to DHS/TSA and AA could be fined for any incorrect or incomplete data.

Q: Should a customer's AAdvantage account be updated with Secure Flight Passenger Data to make certain that it matches the SFPD that the agency is required to enter into a reservation prior to ticketing?
A: Yes. It is important that the DOCs SSR name matches the name on file in the AAdvantage account, otherwise check-in on AA.com will fail. AAdvantage members have a one-time opportunity to make the change or they can call AAdvantage Customer Service for assistance.

Q: Can the customer retrieve their reservation and add Secure Flight Passenger Data.
A: Yes. Go to www.aa.com/secureflight for details.

Q: If a reservation is booked within 72 hours of flight departure with Secure Flight Passenger Data (SFPD) in the reservation and the ticket purchase date is not until the next day will the reservation be canceled even though the SFPD is in the reservation?
A: Standard ticketing time limit rules apply.

Q: How will AA identify flight segments that require SFPD?
A: All AA flights require Secure Flight Passenger Data (SFPD) collection.

Q: If the travel agent receives "ADD SECURE FLIGHT DATA", would it be possible for a travel agent to issue tickets by force after they receive the message requesting the SFPD?
A: Agencies will not be able to force the issuance of a ticket after receiving the message ADD SECURE FLIGHT DATA (that is the response that American Airlines will send the issuing source if the data is missing). SFPD must be in our reservation to issue a 001-validated ticket.

Q: Does TSA Secure Flight regulations apply to carriers operated flights, regardless of which the codeshare carrier is:
A: All AA flights require the collection of SFPD, whether we are the Operating or Marketing Carrier on that flight, because the itinerary includes at least one flight requiring collection of SFPD. Every airline, domestic and international that operates to/from/over the United States must comply with TSA Secure Flight program requirements.

Q: If changes are made to the itinerary, including Schedule Change, or if an Other Airline Segment(s) are added, do I have to re-submit the SFPD?
A: Any time a customer's itinerary is changed in a PNR, including schedule change information/acceptance, or to add an Other Airline carrier segment, whether on a courtesy hold or ticketed, the Travel Agent is (required) to re-submit SFPD data to ensure that the SFPD collected is transmitted to the other airline carrier. Also, some GDSs associate SFPD by segment and as a result the Other Airline carrier segment or newly booked segment will not have SFPD and must be re-submitted for the new itinerary.

EXAMPLE of segment associated SFPD: SSR DOCS AA HK1 DFWORD176Q17MAR/DB/16OCT1967/M/SMITH/DON/H
EXAMPLE of name associated SFPD: SSR DOCS AA HK1/DB/16OCT1967/M/SMITH/DON/H

Q: If the customer encounters a problem while attempting to check-in on AA.com who should they contact?
A: The customer at the time they receive the error message should contact AA.COM WEB SERVICES at 800-222-2377. AA.com Technical Support team will attempt to troubleshoot, track, analyze, and develop resolutions to the error(s). Do not call AA Reservations for assistance.

Q: If I have an OA segment in my Itinerary do I need to do something other than the 4DOCS?
A: As of 22MAR an enhancement was implemented that now requires the SFPD to be entered in 3DOCS field when the itinerary contains OA space. The 3DOCS are required in order that we transmit the SFPD data to OA carriers in the itinerary, to support their need for the info as well.

Updated: May 2, 2013